Accidents Caused By Drowsy Driving
The dangers of drowsy driving are often overlooked due to heightened concerns about driving while under the influence and distracted driving. The reality, however, is that driving while fatigued can be just as dangerous, significantly impacting a driver’s judgment, attention, and reaction time. The injuries sustained in collisions resulting from fatigued driving are also often severe, with little to no attempt by the drowsy driver to brake or swerve out of the way prior to the crash. This makes knowing one’s recovery options in the event of a drowsy driving-related collision of the utmost importance to motorists.
How Drowsiness Can Affect Your Driving Abilities
Most people are aware that distracted driving takes a driver’s mind off the road (and often their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road) and that driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol severely impairs a driver’s coordination and reaction time. Many, however, don’t know that drowsiness can have a similar impact on a driver’s judgment, decision-making, reaction time, vigilance, and coordination. It is not, for example, uncommon for a fatigued driver to:
- Drift between lanes of traffic;
- Struggle to maintain the correct speed limit;
- Keep a safe distance from other vehicles;
- Swerve into oncoming traffic or veer off the road; or
- Be unable to respond quickly to avoid road debris and other obstacles.
This type of driving leads to thousands of car accidents every year, some of which tragically prove to be fatal.
Some drivers are more likely than others to struggle with drowsy driving, including:
- Commercial drivers, who must spend long hours on the road, often at night or early in the morning;
- Shift workers, who often work odd hours, sometimes late at night and so have irregular sleep schedules;
- Those with undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea;
- Individuals who are taking medications for anxiety, insomnia, or pain relief;
- Those who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, or who have poor sleeping habits; and
- Individuals who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
People who fall under one or more of these categories are much more likely to fall asleep at the wheel, and in turn, cause a serious accident.
Establishing Liability for a Drowsy Driving Accident
All drivers are legally obligated to maintain control of their vehicles by staying alert, paying attention, and obeying traffic laws. A driver who falls asleep at the wheel has failed to fulfill these responsibilities and can be held liable for any resulting accidents, as long as the injured party can prove that the other driver was fatigued. To establish this, a plaintiff may need to provide eyewitness accounts, medical records showing that the other driver was on a certain type of medication, evidence of a lack of skid marks at the scene of the crash, and cell phone records or data logs, showing that the other driver had been traveling for long distances and may have been sleep-deprived.
Set Up a Free Consultation Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a crash caused by a drowsy driver, our legal team is ready to help. Call 918-492-4433 to speak with one of our experienced Tulsa auto accident lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. to learn more.